Here, that is especially true. This town is very laid back and unique. The hippie feel of the place, brought on by foreigners looking for a place just to chill out, as even rubbed off on the locals. There are Thais, as well as many white folks, with dreadlocks all around town. There are expats living the chill life here, as well as many younger people constantly coming and going. This location has got quite the reputation for being out of the way and totally relaxed, and you can see it all around in the people it has attracted. I, personally, like to take things easy and not worry about much, so I’ve been fitting into the culture just fine.
Well, that is to say, the foreigners’ culture and the community at the Riverside, where I am staying. I haven’t learned quite enough Thai yet to get in tune with their culture. Hopefully when I swing back through Chiang Mai I can pick up a few more useful phrases and get on to the website my uncle uses to hear the Thai spoken. Also, hopefully the German girl from Utah will be back for their salsa night on Cinco de Mayo, Aside from all that, I have been getting along quite well during my stay here so far.
This is the view from where we practice, just under a few trees. The jungle hills, lush nature, and muddy brown water do not go unnoticed on a daily basis. I have found, much like the folks in San Fran are in tune to the clouds, the people here are in tune with the height of the river. After making a casual comment to that point, I was told that the river has been known to flood. Apparently, they build bamboo bridges after every rainy season, and once they wash away, the wait until the rains stop to rebuild. That would explain why I’ve been here almost a week and this is still not repaired.
I have heard that in the peak season, the entire field where we practice is covered by tents, and that a large bonfire is made every night. I am in Thailand in a time where there is not an overwhelming amount of foreigners. Still, even now, I see a few almost everywhere I go. However, I generally go to areas frequented by tourists, and I have been through some Thai-centric neighborhoods in Chiang Mai. Speaking of tourist locations, I don’t think I would categorize the Riverside as a tourist spot. Sure, in the cool, dry season, which takes place during my usual North American winter, it is flooded by partiers passing through the area. Now, however, most of the people staying there seem to be staying long term. My instructor is living there semi-permanently, along with another martial arts master, a French guy who doesn’t teach and has an even more guarded history. There are another few French people, and they are always in the kitchen cooking, and many of them also seem to be living there indefinitely. I have also met another group of Italian guys who have been traveling for quite some time. They are the types to go one place and stay for a month or so, then move on. I have to admit that it looks like quite a good lifestyle, but then again, I have to generate some money to continue traveling forvever. The one Italian I talked to the most, Phillipo, told me that I am lucky that I can speak English so naturally and teach it anywhere I’d like to go. Now, I am taking the chance to really appreciate it.
Also, I appreciate the opportunity to live this life, learning martial arts, chilling out totally stress-free, and partying just as much as I want to. Sure, I’ll admit it might be a little better if I had a good girl by my side, but one of the things I am trying to learn in patience. Speaking of which, I won’t write anymore about what I’ve been studying for the moment. I’m just learning a foundation now, and wouldn’t be able to demonstrate anything impressive to anyone. However, I have been learning to root my weight and energy into the ground, to become aware of my skeletal structure, and to use my center of gravity as a pivot point for my whole body. Really, though, to understand a lot of what I’m feeling right now you’d have to physically do some of the exercises I have. Let’s just say I am discovering how to work out a few new muscles.
OK, all that said, how about a tour of the facility? I was able to get myself a little charge on my computer and take a few pictures for the blog.
Here is my bungalow from the outside. I’m a little worried about just how high this river floods.
As you can see, it is quite cozy. Just enough room. I can sleep under a nice mosquito net, and when you only have a backpack with you, you don’t really need that much room for storage.
This guy lives in my hut. From leg to leg, at it’s longest point, it’s probably the length of a pencil. Thickness, I dunno, about the size of a quarter. Sure, he can creep you out when you look over your shoulder when reading in bed, but he keeps to place mosquito and moth free. After all, he was in that hut before I was, so I didn’t keep him from hanging around.
This is the main structure where I spend the most of my time. The upstairs is just a clear area, where people practice Tai Chi and yoga away from the elements. Underneath, we hangout and relax in the hammocks, and sometimes train. In the back, is a kitchen, when the French are always cooking, and beyond a few bathrooms. The whole thing was built around an old tree, and now the have it carved out beautifully.
Ok, any questions? I may not post for about a week. Currently, not much is changing, and that inevitably makes it hard to write a travel blog. I do continue travel in a week though, so I figure I will post one more time before leaving. I have high expectations for the next few weeks; hopefully, I will see them fulfilled. I wish everyone reading an excellent day, and thank you for reading, it makes writing all the more fun.